Tuesday, December 26, 2023

OSR: Psychic Powers

This post is inspired by the work of Red Kangaroo, specifically this post.  

by mashu_003

Basic Rules:

You can gain Psychic Powers through a variety of means (see below).  

When you want to use a Psychic Power, you must roll 1d20 and add the relevant modifier (usually COG).  The Referee will assign a DC.  If you succeed on the roll, you successfully do what you tried to do.  Ex: A creature with telekinesis attempts to open a window with their powers.  The DC for this is 10, as the window is locked and it will require a bit of finesse.  He rolls and gets a 13, so he succeeds.  

You have Mana Dice (MD) equal to your COG+CON modifier.  You can roll these d6s to improve one of your d20 rolls to make your powers work better.  When used, your Mana Dice burn out, but they come back after a long rest.  You must choose to roll these dice when you make a d20 roll to use your powers, you cannot roll them afterward.  Additionally, certain powers will require more MD to be able to affect more people or be more effective.

When you first unlock your Psychic Powers, roll on the table below.  You gain that ability and can use it as an action.  Whenever you achieve a new threshold of Psychic might, roll on the table again and unlock a new random power.  Alternatively, you can choose to empower your existing abilities, gaining a +1 bonus to that specific ability whenever you use it. 

How to get psychic powers?

1- Unlock them through years of study, practice and meditation.  This will require years of meditation, deprivation, fasting and likely, celibacy.  Safe, but long and hard with no guarantee of success.    
2- Almost die, but don't.  Some speculate that all humans possesses latent psychic abilities.  These people often also speculate that putting yourself in near-death situations can awaken these powers.  They are occasionally right, but just as often they get people killed.  
3- Get attacked by a psychic or have a sufficiently strong psychic use their powers on you, and don't die.  The psychic energy within the minds of other psychics can sometimes kick-start your own psychic abilities, assuming you have the potential to manifest such abilities.  This can be done very slowly and painlessly, or it can be quick, abrupt and dangerous.  Make sure you're not dealing with a maniac before you ask them for this.    
4- Consume certain chemicals, drugs or toxins that raise psychic potential.  Certain chemicals are said to boost or bestow psychic potential and in some cases, this is actually true.  Many of the substances alleged to do this however are often merely powerful hallucinogens or deliriants.    
5- Try to get mutated in a beneficial way.  Risky, for obvious reasons.    
6- Get possessed or make a pact with a Astral creature (totally not a Demon).  Trust me, this one has never back fired.  It's foolproof! 

There are other methods, though they are less common and often have questionable results.  

Where do they come from?

1- From mutations.  Hang out around enough exotic radiation and you might learn how to shoot lightning with your mind.  Or you might turn into human soup- it's a bit of a crapshoot.  
2- From evolution.  Humanity is evolving into a psychic species.  One day, we'll all be psychic.  This is just a bit of growing pains as we figure it out.  
3- From alien DNA.  Aliens came and modified us with their DNA, granting us these abilities.  My source?  Uh, just trust me bro.
4- From God.  God clearly gave us these powers, as he intended for us to have 'dominion over the Earth'.  If you're of a more pagan persuasion, this could be powers granted by the gods or the magic from our ancestral legends.    
5- From the Devil.  These powers are evil and were given to us to ensnare us and lead us away from the truth!  We must resist the temptation to use them and fight those who use their powers to oppress their fellow man.  
6- Who knows?  It's a mystery, man.  Just don't worry about it.  

How to make them stronger?  

1- Train with a stronger psychic.  This will require finding and convincing them to train you.  This will likely be hard and annoying and require something dangerous, seemingly pointless or both.  
2- Vision Quest.  Go out into the wilderness and don't eat or drink.  Spend your time focusing your mind.  Live like an Old Testament prophet fleeing his countrymen.  Eventually, Angels or Gods might show up to teach you how to do something cool.  
3- Do certain, highly dangerous drugs.  You know those drugs that can boost or awaken psychic abilities?  Take an irresponsible amount of those and call me in the morning.  
4- Demon Pact.  Sell your soul, baby!  No possible downsides here.  
5- Put yourself in dangerous situations.  In a sufficiently dangerous situation, it is possible to have a Second Awakening, which dramatically boosts your powers.  Of course, this doesn't always works and usually never more than once.  
6- Kill another psychic and eat their power.  This is obviously a very taboo option, but it definitely works.  It's just much easier said than done, especially as you'll either need a bunch of weaker psychics or one that's stronger than you.   

      by Murata Yusuke, from One Punch Man
Random Psychic Powers:

1- Mind Reading: By reaching out and touching a creature's mind, you can attempt to read a creature's surface thoughts. These are the thoughts that currently maintain the lion share's of the creature's attention. Creatures get a saving throw to resist their minds being read.

2- Mind Control. You can attempt to take a control of a creature's mind and body. The creature must save. If the creature has more HD than MD used, it has advantage on the save. On a failed save, you take control of the creature. You can maintain control of a creature for as long as you maintain concentration. Should you attempt to do anything strenuous, take damage or otherwise become distracted, the creature under your control may attempt to break free by challenging you to a COG contest. On a success, it breaks free. You can release a creature as a free action. Your control is also automatically released if you fall unconscious or die.

3- Sense Emotions: As an action, you can attempt to sense the emotions of a creature with a soul. That creature gets a saving throw to resist. If you are already talking with that creature, you can attempt to use this power as a free action on your turn.  

4- Emotional Projection: As an action, you can attempt to project an emotion onto up to a creature or a group of creatures. Creatures get a save to resist having their emotions strongly influenced. You can invest MD to affect more creatures or increase the effect.  Each MD you spend lets you affect one more individual or another group of creatures, as long as the entire group is before you.  Additionally, for each MD spent, individual creatures get a -[sum] penalty to their saves, while groups get a -[dice] penalty to it's save.    

5- Cast Illusion: You can weave an illusion. This illusion can be anything you imagine, but it cannot make sound or any type of stimuli beyond visual. This illusion lasts until you stop concentrating on it or if you invest MD it lasts for [dice] rounds.

6- Invisibility: As an action, you can turn invisible. You can remain invisible until you take a strenuous action or break concentration. If you spend MD, you can remain invisible for [dice] rounds.  If you spend MD, you remain invisible for as long as you keep spending MD.    

7- Attention Manipulation: As an action, you can make yourself harder to notice or harder to ignore.  If you do the former, creatures must successfully save to notice you or pay any attention to you.  Creatures have advantage on this save if you are doing something interesting or novel, while they have disadvantage if you are doing something to blend into the background, such as disguising yourself as a waiter at a fancy dinner party.  If you make yourself harder to ignore, the opposite is true.  Creatures must successfully save to avoid looking and focusing on you.  Advantage is granted if you aren't doing something interesting or worth paying attention to, while disadvantage is imposed if you are doing something weird, novel or interesting.    

8- Telepathy: You can communicate mind-to-mind with any creature you can see, as long as that creature has a mind.  You can also reach out and contact a creature if you know where it is.  Creatures can try to shut you out and prevent communication by succeeding on a COG save.  

9- Telekinesis: You can move an object or person with your mind, as long as that person weighs less than or equal to something you could lift if your COG score replaced your STR score.  You can also make attacks and use your Telekinesis in other ways.  If you do, use your COG score, adding the relevant modifier to any check.  If making an attack, you can include your Attack modifier as well.  If any creature is grappled or restrained by your Telekinesis, they can make a STR check as opposed to your COG check, on a success, that creature can break free from your grip. 

10- Create Psychic Constructs: You can create constructs out of ectoplasm.  These are objects created out of solidified mana.  Constructs you create have 1d6+[sum] HP, where [sum] is from the amount of MD you spend to create a construct.  You can also heal your constructs by feeding them MD on your turn as a free action.  You can create anything you want and if your construct is capable of movement, manipulate it as an action on your turn.  Constructs that can move must have joints, limbs and other means of mechanical movement, as they are technically solid.      

11- Pyrokinesis: You can cause objects to ignite as an action. Creatures get a save to resist bursting into flames. You can also control existing flames, shaping or moving them as an action.

12- Cryokinesis: You can fire a beam that dramatically lowers the temperature, rapidly cooling them. This does 1d6+COG modifier cold damage. Creatures can either attempt to make a save to halve the damage or evade entirely with a successful Defense roll. If you add more MD, you can produce a wider and more powerful beam. Each additional MD adds +1d6 cold damage on a hit and also affects what you can freeze. O MD can freeze a bucketful of water, +1 MD can freeze a bathtub's worth, +2 MD can freeze a small swimming pool, +3 MD can freeze huge sections of a pool or lake.  

13- Transmute Material: You can transmute material, changing one substance to another. With a flat d20 roll, you can transmute a basket's worth of material, with 1 MD, you can transmute up a bucketful, with 2 MD, an amount up to a wagon load, with 3 or more MD, enough material to fill a small cottage. The DC for Transmutation varies depending on the amount and the substances being transformed. Turning something into a similar substance is much easier. Lead to Gold is much easier than Lead to Water. Ex: Transmuting Stone to Metal = DC 10; Transmuting Stone to Water = DC 16.  

14- Biokinesis: As an action, you can heal a creature for 1d6 HP by touching or being close to it.  If you choose to spend MD, you can instead heal a creature for up to [sum] HP.  

15- Mind Blasts: You can fire mental blasts as an action that do 1d6+COG psychic damage.  Creatures get a saving throw to reduce the damage by half.  This damage cannot reduce a creature below 0 HP.  If you spend MD, you can fire blasts that do 2[dice]+COG damage.    

16- Precognition: As an action, you can look into the future to see what is going to happen within the super-immediate future (next 15 seconds or less).  This lets you add +COG modifier  to any one d20 roll you personally make until your next turn.  If you spend MD, you can instead add 2[dice] to any one d20 roll.  Note that you may only add this bonus if what you are attempting is possible, if not, no bonus may be applied. 

17- Remote Viewing/Second Sight: Your mind functions like a Scry-glass, allowing you to look upon people or places far away from you.  Use the rules for Crystal Balls.  

18- Astral Projection: You can project your mind out of your body, allowing it to travel freely.  While projected, your mind or Astral Self acts as a Ghost.  It takes damage from sunlight, fire and magical sources of damage, but is invisible to most creatures, can pass through non-magical items and can fly.  Additionally, there is a magical silver cord connecting your Astral Self to your body.  If this cord is severed, and it can only be by a magical source, your Astral Self is separated from your body and you are considered "dead" by the laws of the universe, meaning Psychopomps will show up to arrest you and take you to the afterlife.  

19- Induce Physical Sensations: By focusing on a creature, you can cause that creature to feel a sensation.  Creatures must save to resist being affected by this sensation.  This sensation must be something you've experienced personally.  If you spend MD, you can induce more powerful sensations or sensations you've never experienced.  If you spend MD, creatures get a -[dice] penalty to their saves.  

20- Teleportation: You can, as an action, teleport up to the distance you could move in one round.  You can teleport to anywhere you can see, or if you know a location intimately, you can teleport there blindly.  You will always appear in the nearest unoccupied space to your destination.  If you spend MD, you can either double the distance you could teleport or bring 1 object or creature with you, as long as that object or creature is your size or smaller.     

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